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Another year, another Coachella won by the DJs. It was apparent seeing the massive crowd flocking to the Main Stage for Kaskade’s 7:30pm set that no matter the time, no matter the place, big electronic names have supplanted rock ‘n roll and pop acts as the biggest draw of the festival. Ever since Tiesto’s headlining set in 2010, electronic music and its den of iniquity, the Sahara tent, has consistently drawn the most packed crowds, with the requisite increase in dilated eyes and face paint. Not to say Kaskade’s set was a bust – indeed, it was quite good – but it failed to rise above the constraints of its audience, who know what they want and are happy enough to get it. Still, credit to Goldenvoice: where past Coachellas have gone heavy on the big names), the electronic acts this year pushed the boundaries of their genre, from Kygo, who’s languid house beats draw white girls like moths to a flame, to Jamie xx’s innovative, heavy set, to John Talabot, who proved the best avatar of the Yuma’s throbbing, mutating waves of bass music. Sure, David Guetta may have still closed out the Sahara Sunday night, but: progress! And that’s not even mentioning one of my favorite sets of the night, which rocked the top of the Mojave, of all places.

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Placing Canadian indie-pop legends Sloan at…

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Saturday was a study in contrasts.  Where one stage may began with the dramatic Perfume Genius owning the stage in drag, it may end with Flosstradamus and Axwell ^ Ingrosso turning it into the outdoor version of the dance-exclusive Sahara tent. Take my favorite stage of the festival, the Mojave – I opened things up with a buzz-building performance by Ryn Weaver, who dedicated a song to her late grandfather, who lived in the Coachella valley, and later jetted over there to catch a bit of Run The Jewels, all while somehow missing out on Toro y Moi, Tycho, and SBTRKT. It’s a cliché, but if you can’t find something you like on any given day here, it’s probably on purpose.

The heat that finally drove me away from Perfume Genius’s blistering set and a temporary stop to see Canadian synthpop star Lights took me to the one place the temperature was actually almost hotter inside than out: the constantly jacked up Sahara tent. Here, ecstasy could generally be found corroding the brains of America’s future leaders from the moment the festival opened to the time it closed and its denizens went out to chase the dragon in the campgrounds. Normally I’d wait until I didn’t have to look people in the eyes to check out the Sahara, but the promise of an amazing light display from resident visual geniuses V…

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Getting right down to brass tacks for this sixth edition of Klap’s Koachella, because frankly I’m still in the process of scraping my brain off the desert floor for what was one of my favorite Coachellas in recent memory. The weather? Pristine – apparently Friday was the coolest of the festival, but it was appropriately scorching in the afternoon (yet without reducing me to a puddle) and blessedly refreshing as the sun went down and people started generating their own pharmaceutical heat. The food? Better than ever – some of the samples this year included gourmet pop-up restaurants from celebrity chefs like Roy Choi and Kris Morningstar, an absolutely filthy hot dog stand, and old, artery-clogging standbys like my one true love, a heaping mound of garlic crab fries. The crowd? Eh; you win some, you lose some. But the drawing point remains as on point as ever – the artists by and large killed it, whether or not you supplemented your experience with any number of mind-altering substances that surely resulted in some sort of medical tent record, given the lax security I experienced in relation to past years. The best treatment for post-Coachella depression is reliving it.

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Waking up for the first day always leaves me giddy, largely because you never know how thoroughly security will search you on…

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Before we get started, a quick round of applause to both Manosg and Paradox1216 who were recently promoted to the contributor pool. Congratulations guys, and we wish you well in your new surroundings. Just make sure you close the door behind you, we don’t want Hep Kat sneaking in.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 14th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Calexico – Edge Of The Sun (Anti Records)
The Damnwells – The Damnwells (Rock Ridge Music)
Dwight Yoakam – Second Hand Heart (Warner Bros.)
Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit: I Don’t Go Outside (Columbia) – Jonny Hunter
fLako – Natureboy (Five Easy Pieces)
Greg Holden – Chase The Sun (Warner Bros.)
Halestorm – Into The Wild Life (Atlantic)
James Pants – Savage (Stones Throw)
Jeremy Bass – Winter Bare (Self-released)
John Andrews & The Yawns – Bit By The Fang (Woodsist)
Keller Williams – Vape (Self-released)
Lee Harvey Osmond – Beautiful Scars (Latent Recordings)
Looper – Offgrid:Offline (Mute)
Lowland Hum – Lowland Hum (Self-released)
Now And On Earth – Blacked Out (Epitaph)
Reba McEntire – Love Somebody (Big Machine Records)
Second Storey & Appleblim – ALSO (R&S Records)
Stranger Cat – In The Wilderness (Joyful Noise Recordings)
Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart – Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart (Secretly Canadian)
Trickfinger – Trickfinger (Acid Test)
Villagers – Darling Arithmetic (Domino Recording Co.)

Fear not everybody, your second favorite weekly blog (Dev does run a mean ‘New Releases’ post, after all) has returned following a week’s rest over Easter. In its place was the staff’s quarterly mixtape (brilliantly compiled by Jom), which can still be listened to in all of its glory by clicking here.

Today, I thought I would chat about something that is very dear to my heart: Guilty pleasures. In all honesty, I dislike the term… Mainly because no-one should really feel guilty for liking any kind of music. If you like it, you like it… And it should be as simple as that. But, of course, life doesn’t usually work out that way, and there’s always someone just around the corner laughing at you for listening to a certain song, before they abruptly snap that “Your taste in music sux”. Sometimes, this so-called fact comes as a shocking revelation, but most of the time we are actually in on the joke and are listening to something purely because we enjoy it.

Over the past couple of weeks, I posted twenty videos from the Soundwave festival which I attended last month. While I probably wouldn’t say that they were the best act I saw, the one which gave me the most enjoyment may well have been Papa Roach. Now I know that some of their releases are just plain crap (see my two star review of their sixth LP ‘Metamorphosis’), but…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 7th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Aceyalone – Action (Bionik Music)
All Time Low – Future Hearts (Hopeless Records)
American Wrestlers – American Wrestlers (Fat Possum)
Blues Traveler – Blow Up The Moon (Loud & Proud Records)
Brian Wilson – No Pier Pressure (Capitol)
Darius Koski – Sisu (Fat Wreck Chords)
Delta Rae – After It All (Sire)
Doldrums – The Air Conditioned Nightmare (Sub Pop Records)
Drenge – Undertow (Infectious Music)
Drug Cabin – Wiggle Room (401K Music)
DTCV – Uptime! (Xemu Records)
East India Youth – Culture Of Volume (XL Recordings)
Enforcer – From Beyond (Nuclear Blast America)
Folk Family Revival – Water Walker (Rock Ridge Music)
Lapalux – Lustmore (Brainfeeder)
Lord Huron – Strange Trails (IAMSOUND)
Marriages – Salome (Sargent House)
Matt & Kim – New Glow (Harvest)
The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ (Merge Records)
Only Real – Jerk At The End Of The Line (Virgin EMI)
Portico – Living Fields (Ninja Tune)
Priory – Need To Know (Warner Bros.)
Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors (Relapse)
Scuba – Claustrophobia (Hotflush Recordings)
Shlohmo – Dark Red (True Panther Sounds)
Sworn In – The Lovers/The Devil (Razor & Tie)
Toro Y Moi – What For? (Carpark Records)
The Very Best – Makes A King (PIAS America)
The Waterboys – Modern Blues (Kobalt)
Waters- What’s Real (Vagrant Records)
Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp (Merge

Today is the most glorious day of the year.

Dear Lord…

It’s Opening Day! Well, sort of, anyway. Does it really count if there’s only one game going, and one of the teams is the Cubs?

It’s also the Master’s next week.

Either way, just like the lion and the lamb adage about March, the year’s first quarter came and went, and the staffers are pleased to present the first rendition of their quarterly mixtape. Featuring selections from CHON, Cirrus, Niko Is, and Tanlines, you can stream the mixtape (save for a handful of songs, which have their own embeds) here.

For future mixtapes, what would you like to see? Should this be a mix of staffer favorites, or should the mixtapes serve as a platform to unearth favorites that would otherwise go unnoticed?

Your feedback is appreciated. Enjoy! –Jom

CHON – “Can’t Wait” (03:08)

Listen if you like:
Plini, Mestis, Polyphia

CHON’s long-awaited full-length debut really pushed all the right buttons in all the right ways. The album (Grow) is chock full of memorable hooks, intricate leads, rapid key changes, driving drum beats, groove galore, and – a first for the band – some great vocal melodies.

“Can’t Wait” stands out to me as one of many favorites from Grow because it manages to stuff all of these elements into one incredibly memorable track. Relaxed, fluid verse section? Check. Exploding…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 31st, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Benoît Pioulard – Sonnet (Kranky)
Billy Woods – Today, I Wrote Nothing (Backwoodz Studioz)
Boxed In – Boxed In (Nettwerk Records)
Boz Scaggs – A Fool To Care (429 Records)
Darius Rucker – Southern Style (Universal Nashville)
Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi (Atlantic) – Rudy Klapper
Death Grips – The Powers That B (CMG)
Donato Dozzy & Anna Caragnano – Sintetizzatrice (Spectrum Spools)
Föllakzoid – III (Sacred Bones Records)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress (Constellation)
Hollerado – 111 Songs (Royal Mountain Records)
Hollywood Undead – Day Of The Dead (Interscope Records)
Jerry Paper – Carousel (Bayonet Records)
Jessy Malin – New York Before The War (One Little Indian)
Jodeci – The Past, The Present, The Future (Epic)
Lower Dens – Escape From Evil (Ribbon Records)
Ludacris – Ludaversal (Def Jam)
Marching Church – This World Is Not Enough (Sacred Bones Records)
Missy Mazzoli – Vespers For A New Dark Age (New Amsterdam)
Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast US)
The Prodigy – The Day Is My Enemy (Warner Bros.)
Ringo Starr – Postcards From Paradise (UMe)
Ron Sexsmith – Carousel One (Compass Records)
Simon Joyner – Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist)
The Soft Moon – Deeper (Captured Tracks)
The Sonics – This Is The Sonics…

Vita – drums, Poia – guitars & Urlo – bass, vocals

With their unique brand of psychedelic sludge/doom, the Italian power trio Ufomammut have gradually grown over the past decade to become one of the leading acts of the genre. Mixing heavy, fuzzy riffs with often dark ambient passages, the band has produced such brilliant and expansive records as Snailking (2004), Idolum (2008), Eve (2010) and the double-sided ORO (2012). Now, they have returned with another masterpiece, Ecate, their most straightforward and streamlined effort. Before embarking on a European tour as well as crossing the Atlantic for the first time for an extensive North American trek, Vita, Poia and Urlo took some time to answer a few questions for Sputnik:

Hello! How are the preparations for the new album release and following tour going?

Urlo: Everything is good, we’re rehearsing a lot lately to play Ecate in the best way possible. It’s a new path for us in terms of music, so we’re very curious to see how it’ll be live. In the meantime we’re getting mad with all the US visas issues and preparation of the American tour… but we’re very excited to be in the States. And we’re preparing the limited edition vinyls at Malleus headquarters, a very precious version of the LP of Ecate that will be out at the end of March.

Vita: This is a busy period, we have to practice the new record and get all the documents we need to travel stateside.


Last week, I posted videos of the first batch of 10 bands from Day-1 of Australia’s SoundWave Festival . This week, it’s time for the Day-2 contingent, with more rock, punk and metal acts to satisfy your urge for all things heavy and live. For various reasons, I could not attend both days of the festival, and it was this Day-2 group that best satisfied me personally. Of course, posting all of the bands that I saw would probably cause a riot at Sputnik, so hopefully the diverse range of bands seen below is a fair enough compromise.

As per usual, a disclaimer must first be aired for legal purposes: SputnikMusic shall take no responsibility for any motion sickness caused by unsteady hand-held cameras used in the making of the following videos. The same goes for deafness caused by varying volume levels, seizures caused by blinking lights, and blindness caused by the brightness of security vests.

And just in case you were thinking that the line-up for Day-2 looks a little thin, then please take into account that the following list of videos excludes the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, Fucked Up, Millencolin, Mayhem, Of Mice & Men, The Wonder Years, Godsmack, Tonight Alive, and farewell performances from Conditions & The Swellers just to name another 10 who played on this particular day. In fact, the order of what you are about to view, roughly coincides with each band’s actual set time.…

Before I begin today’s column, a huge thanks to everyone who took part in last week’s discussion concerning “favourite lyrics”. It was by far the most popular ‘Sputnik Discusses’ thus far and I’m certain that many readers found it as enlightening as I did. Also, an apology if this particular column comes off a little half-hearted in comparison. In between reading all of those fantastic lyrics, writing 4 reviews and putting together a literal smorgasbord of live videos from Australia’s recent Soundwave Festival, it’s fair to state that my spare time has been scarce of late. Oh well, let’s see how it goes, shall we?

As per my usual orderly want to link my blogs, I’d like to point your attention towards last weekend’s Soundwave Festival post, which included ten live videos from Day-1 of the annual Australian event (My Day-2 wrap will be posted by this weekend). Just attending the festival got me to thinking: If given the choice of only one, would I prefer to get my dose of live music by way of (a) festivals or (b) headline gigs (with one or two support acts)? In all honesty, my decision on this has wavered from year to year… And there are more factors that go into the choice than one might initially think.

Now, a musical purist might feel that there is no competition in this debate. Surely it’s all about the music and a band’s “true”…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 24th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful (Atlantic Urban)
Beautality – Einfallen: A Tale Ov Torment & Triumph (Nordavind Records)
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. (Mom & Pop Music)
Etiquette – Reminisce (Hand Drawn Dracula)
Gabrielle Papillon – The Tempest Of Old (Self-released)
The Go! Team – The Scene Between (Memphis Industries)
Hit The Lights – Summer Bone (Pure Noise)
Humming House – Revelries (Rock Ridge Music)
Inventions – Maze Of Woods (Temporary Residence)
Jam City – Dream A Garden (Night Slugs)
JEFF The Brotherhood – Wasted On The Dream (Infinity Cat)
Jimmy Whispers – Summer In Pain (Moniker Records)
Joel Plaskett – Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test (Pheromone Recordings)
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015 (Mom & Pop Music)
Julian Moon – Good Girl (Warner Bros. Records)
Laura Marling – Short Movie (Ribbon Records)
Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire (Thrill Jockey)
Liturgy – The Ark Work (Thrill Jockey)
LoneLady – Hinterland (Warp Records)
Mind.In.A.Box – Memories(Metropolis Records)
People Of The North – Era Of Manifestations (Thrill Jockey)
Steve Grand – All American Boy (Grand Nation)
Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Fat Wreck Chords) – Jom
Them Are Us Too – Remain (Dais Records)
Too Close To Touch – Nerve Endings…

All the way back in 2011, I posted a blog titled ‘Maiden, Slash, Slayer & QOTSA Soundwavin’ Around Oz’ that included amateur video of five acts that toured around Australia with the rock, punk and metal festival that is Soundwave. Since then, I have decided to only post lists detailing my experiences at the annual extravaganza, but all that’s about to change in a big way. With 2015’s event being held over two separate days, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to return to the blog and allow all of you to see some live footage of a diverse range of bands. And since I personally saw 10 bands on the day that I attended, then you also get to see 10 bands… TWICE OVER! This week will include the first batch of ten from Day-1 and next week I’ll be back with 10 more from Day-2. How’s that for value!?

Before we begin, a disclaimer must first be aired for legal purposes: SputnikMusic shall take no responsibility for any motion sickness caused by unsteady hand-held cameras used in the making of the following videos. The same goes for deafness caused by varying volume levels, seizures caused by blinking lights, and blindness caused by the brightness of security vests.

And just in case you were thinking that the line-up for Day-1 looks a little thin, then please take into account that the following list of videos excludes the…

Many thanks to Kyle “Crysis” Ward for taking over the ‘Sputnik Discusses’ reins last week. The cheeky bugger made my discussions look like pure fluff in comparison, with his piece on the ‘Message Behind the Music’ eliciting responses that included references to Marx, Shakespeare, Jim Crow and the U.S. Supreme Court! If you have yet to read Kyle’s thought-provoking column, I urge you to do so by clicking here. Otherwise, since I am currently in the midst of a reviewing hot streak, here is more sugary DaveyBoy fluff to hold you over until the next guest columnist. And due to my orderly want to attempt to link each column, today’s ‘Sputnik Discusses’ exists so you can all share your favourite lyrics with us.

When it comes to taking in lyrics and rating their importance to my listening experience, I’m somewhere in-between those who completely ignore them and those who think they are the be-all and end-all. They’re more the cherry on top, rather than the ice-cream itself. Basically, with a few exceptions, top-notch lyrics can make a great song superb, while poor lyrics can make a great song only good. While the likes of The Smiths and The National are sure to pop up in discussion, I’m personally not one for sitting in the corner of my bedroom enjoying mopey lyrics. The closest I get to such despondency is that of the lazy, realist self-loathing kind, as NYC rockers Bayside sang so infectiously on…

Spring is an exciting, tricky season. As the cold of winter slowly starts to fade and give way to blossoming life once more, everything changes. The sun regains its warmth, the waters start to burble again, branches develop green buds, and in the midst of nature waking, one should feel an increasing pep in their step as well. I find there’s rarely a feeling more fulfilling than the one you get when the fog of winter clears from your mind, and you start to see all sorts of colors again. The initial lure of spring can be dangerous though, and it’s not especially difficult to fall victim to a number of ailments (just as I have at the moment), like the flu, or other more minor infectious diseases. So what to do when you’re feeling too lousy to take advantage of the weather outside, but are lively enough to not sleep your days away? Listen to new, exciting music of course! This is where Galar and Dark Essence Records come along to help us out.

Today, on the 16th of March, Norway’s black/folk metallers Galar will release their long-anticipated third album De Gjenlevende through the aforementioned Dark Essence Records. Links will appear at the bottom end of this post on where you can acquire the new album, but for those who want to give it a spin before getting the real deal on their hands, Sputnik has been granted the privilege to…

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